Social ecological theory suggests that children develop within a multi-layered “ecosystem” that naturally supports their ability to bond and develop. Numerous studies indicate that when social ecology zones are disturbed, children begin to exhibit stress and behavioral variance that compensates for or exaggerates their condition.

The theory states that children bond first and most importantly with the parents, especially a primary caregiver, then with the family unit. This ecology is extended into the school and local social environments, and out into work and wider social settings as children reach adulthood. Central to this theory is the use of relationships to create accountability structures. FAST® is designed to support parents’ role as family leaders, create relationships within and between families, and build social capital between families, schools and the community.

(Bronfenbrenner, Genf, Kogan & Barkeley, Minuchin; Satir; Patterson; Alexander, Wahler, Belle, Egeland, Werner & Smith, Gilligan, Freier, Furland)

Social Ecological Theory of child development